Thursday, November 10, 2016

Religion in Politics; Blog #5

          Offline culture, in my case study, has been one of the main driving factors in the creation of the memes I am using. The case study I am using is a Facebook page named, “God” that is a satirical and comical page that is used with the intentions of highlighting the contradictions and hypocrisy of many Christian conservatives. The memes that I have taken from that page are more politically and religiously intertwined than most of the posts but the page, as a whole typically will either align with either political views or religious views and how they may contradict what was actually taught from that religion. 

          Offline religious culture and political culture set the basis and create standards for what should be considered authentic/accurate/orthodox expressions online in my case study simply based on the fact that the memes and ideas explained or made fun of are directly drawn from offline contexts. The memes themselves were created online but were inspired completely by the ideas and teachings of many Christian conservatives in the offline context. Many churches, religious and political groups, that align with most Christian and conservative values will argue, many times, against their own religious teachings and not even realize it. Since in most cases the ties from online to offline in meme culture is typically used to attack opposing ideas and values, most individuals or groups that do not agree with the memes will see them as a threat and/or meaningless and offensive. This is what makes it very difficult to dictate or define what, in the online world, can be considered authentic, accurate, and/or orthodox. When the lines between offline and online contexts are so typically blurred by the many millions of individuals and representatives that have very polarized opinions on very similar issues, it only continues to weaken the legitimacy of many authority figures in any context. 
          The memes used for the week five blog all look to be screen shots of the Twitter page linked to the Facebook page used in this entire case study. The Twitter handle is, "@TheGoodGodAbove". The three screen shots/memes/Twitter posts all took place while the presidential election was occurring on November 8th, 2016. The first image shows "God" saying, "There has never been more proof that I don't exist than there is right now". This post is driven by the victory that Donald Trump experienced in his presidential run. Many Americans are angry about the outcome of the election and the person who handles both the Facebook and Twitter page in this case study, is one of those that is angry with President-Elect Trump. The next meme says, "I regret giving you free will", which also is in direct response to the victory that Donald Trump had in the presidential race and that the owner of this account is trying to say that not even God would approve of Donald Trump being a leader of the free world. Lastly, the final meme in this blog that supports the above discussed tie between the online and offline for reference to the authenticity of authority reads, "That's it. Time to destroy humanity". That meme could either be claiming that a Donald Trump presidency will destroy the world/humanity or that because "God" is so opposed to and angry with the results of the presidential election, that "God" will now actively destroy humanity.

Links to memes used:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

God in Politics #4

One of the images in this week’s blog shows an image of Mary and Joseph holding baby Jesus after being welcomed into the world. They were welcomed into a stable to give birth to Jesus and the meme says, “Don’t forget to hate refugees as you set up a nativity scene celebrating a middle eastern couple desperately looking for shelter. This meme plays on the contradiction that some would hold the birth of Jesus in such high regard as the son of refugees while Christians today in the U.S. want to completely deny the ability to help refugees from Syria.
The other meme in today’s blog post shows an image that originally depicted Jesus in the market that used to be a church and he was flipping tables and whipping people. The meme reads, Voting for the socialist Jew who condemns bankers is literally the Christian thing to do”. Instead of Jesus’ head on the body in the picture it is the head of Bernie Sanders.
The source of authority in this week’s blog post referred to in the images below is the authority of ideology. The religious authority of ideology is based on faith, beliefs, ideas, or shared identity; i.e. theologies or doctrines (Campbell 2016). The source of authority is ideology because the memes presented in this week’s blog post directly refer to stories and teachings in the Bible that are held to a Holy liking in the Christian faith but are said, by the meme, to not be applied in culture today by those who claim to follow it most closely.
The Logic that seems to be at work in this case study regarding the ideological religious authority is the logic of disjuncture and displacement. This logic states that traditional authority is eroded by the Internet and new patterns and systems that run counter to traditional authorities, disturb the status quo. This is exemplified by the pasting of current leaders’ heads on the faces of religious figures and creating an irony that they people of today that claim to hold Christianity dear to their heart, is not actually following simple stories from the Bible.
The definitions and framing authority impact the message being communicated about religion in politics in the memes presented in today’s blog by bringing up irony in the logic of current, political, conservatives and people who also claim to be Christian conservatives.

Friday, October 28, 2016

God in Politics Blog #3

The case study that I have chosen most commonly uses bridging as its form of integration for the content of its materials in the memes it posts. It uses, in almost every post, a mixture of the online and the offline that have distinct contexts in and of themselves but they are linked by the memes that are shared/created by the Facebook paged titled, “God”.  In one of the three memes I have provided for this weeks blog it is essentially a screen shot of a Twitter post from Nick Martucci (@BlunderingIdiom) that reads, “Birth Control? BAN IT! Abortion? BAN IT! Gay marriage? BAN IT! GUNS? Look, banning things never works. People will find ways to get them”. This post/meme plays directly on the assertion by many right-winged Christian voters, that all of the things that they claim their religion hates/opposes need to be banned but that something that is aiding the murder of tens of thousands of people in the US each year alone, is too important to them to ban. So important that, the post highlights this in a satirical way, the claim is that even if its banned people will still do it anyway so it should not be banned. This contradicts most of the reasoning they hold behind banning the other things mentioned in the post. The other meme I have provided for this week shows Yoda, from Star Wars, and it reads, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to supporting Donald Trump”. This meme is playing directly on the assertion by many of Donald Trump’s opponents that claim that he is using fear mongering as a tactic to inspire his supporters to follow him out of fear for what may happen if they do not follow him.  The third meme that I have provided for this week shows Jesus speaking to a crowd and in the meme Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor…”, only to be interrupted by a spectator with Donald Trump’s face pasted on them that reads, “WRONG!!”. This meme is directly referring to how Donald Trump would respond to Hillary Clinton during the presidential debates when he disagreed with a statement she made. This post is linking that occurrence to the belief that Donald Trump will believe what he wants to believe, regardless of who may oppose it, and that if they oppose Donald’s way of thinking then they are nothing more than being completely wrong.

Links to memes:

God in Politics Blog #2

The religion that my case study most closely aligns with is Christianity. However, the posts are not limited to Christianity because the Facebook page itself is titled “God” the user represents themselves as God and not as one specific God. The most common representation on this Facebook page is more of a left leaning political view and a satirical explanation of many political and religious viewpoints. Many posts refer directly to the upcoming presidential election. Some simply attempt to take a viewpoint that is popular in certain religious or political supporters and they try to show the worst in it.
Based on the images used in blog 1 and now in blog two one could make the assumption that Christianity is a religion of intolerance, an unwillingness to help those who are not like them, and also actions that can be deemed hypocritical. When looking deeper into the memes from blog one and two one can see that the memes are being used to showcase the errors in practice of many Christians and how those practices do not align with the actual teachings of Christianity. In blog one there is a meme with Republican Jesus on it that says, “And then Republican Jesus said: Only feed the ones who pass the drug test”, which is obviously attacking the demands that many republicans make that would require all welfare recipients to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits. The second meme used in blog one shows a picture of a bumper sticker that reads, “My God is bigger than your government”, and on the borders of the image itself the meme reads, “THIS is how terrorism starts”. This meme is intended to show that Christians are, metaphorically, throwing stones at Muslims because of certain perceptions that the Christian republican public seems to hold, but in actuality the Christians are the ones who are possibly inciting terrorism. 

The memes used in this blog, blog #2, continue to play on the idea that Christian republicans are not that much different from the people in this world that they claim to hate the most. The first image shows on the left a picture of a small, white, church, and on the right of the image is a headshot of Donald Trump. The meme reads, “What do these two things have in common? Both are white, pay no taxes, and are full of shit”. The next meme for this week that I have provided is a meme with Gene Wilder in character as Willy Wonka that reads, “You’re upset because you want your religious laws to be the law of the land? You know who else wants that? ISIS”, which only continues to show the irony of many Christian republican claims.

Links to above memes:

Links to memes in Blog #1 referred to in this blog:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Kyle Chamblin Blog 1

Religious Politics of New Media

In the 21st century the use of new media is expanding to reach over practically every aspect of daily life. Pastors, teachers, politicians, police departments, etc., all used to stay away from the usage of new media and left it to be taken by youth and people who may not have had anything better to do with their time. Now, in 2016, many of the above mentioned are no longer distancing themselves from new media because it is a way that they are able to connect with any and every generation, quickly spread messages regarding safety or crisis situations, and also get feedback about their own leadership or opinions on positions that they take. As the religious and political discussions through various forms of new media turn closer to uneducated, ill-informed and/or closeminded banter, the legitimacy of many societal leaders is falling every day and they seem to be distancing themselves from the message they may have been created to spread or protect. With the continued pressure on individuals and organizations throughout the United States from the 2016 Presidential Election, the separation of religion and politics is hard to come across. As considered in many elections, religion is one of the key factors that separates individual’s opinions on many hot topics and political issues. There are many that either simply do not care to have any tie between their religion and politics and other that believe that the nation should be run specifically based off of their religious beliefs and teachings. The main form of new media that this paper will focus on will be Facebook. Facebook is the selected media for this paper because of how far reaching it is and continues to be. Facebook has been present for around a decade now and evolves every day in ways that individuals and organizations can bring it into their daily lives and practices. In the U.S. alone, there are thousands, if not millions, of accounts engaged daily in arguments stemmed from religious and political views. This paper will dissect different forms of posts and discussions that can occur on Facebook and how they impact communities and individuals alike. The specific case study that I will focus on will be the satirical Facebook group named, “God”, and it’s associated social media sites.